Given the massive number of apps now on both the iPhone and Android some people (especially tech bloggers) complain regularly about the “problem of app discovery.” In fact we don’t know if regular users are similarly vexed. But let’s assume they are. On Android in particular “app discovery” has been less than optimal.
Now iPhone “app search engine” Chomp has introduced a version for Android that will help address the problem. Actually Chomp is more like “Yelp for the app store” and it’s been quite successful for iPhone users. The Android version could easily match that success.
Users can either search via the PC site or the Android app itself. In my short time playing with the Chomp Android app I found the experience to be very good.
The Chomp Android app allows you to browse or search, although search is emphasized over browsing. Chomp creates an inventory of all your installed apps and then invites you to review them. Beyond its general usability, Chomp’s reviews help differentiate it. Chomp also offers recommendations.
App stores on the handset are the primary way that users discover new apps according to 2010 Nielsen survey data:
According to Chomp’s own usage metrics, users mainly search for apps by function or category rather than by name.
Chomp also says that the weekend is the time of greatest app search activity.
Furthermore afternoon and evening tend to be the time of day with the greatest app search traffic.
Recently Google introduced an online version of the Android market, which is considerably more usable than its smartphone-based equivalent (which itself has been recently upgraded). The great feature of the online Android Market site is the immediate “over the air” download (without syncing) once an app is selected.
Amazon is accepting developer submissions for its own potentially distruptive Android app store alternative, which could prove to be quite popular especially for paid apps given Amazon’s stored credit card relationship with users. Of course Verizon and Sprint are promoting their own “app stores,” which are generally weak or otherwise indistinguishable from the Android Market itself.
Here’s a demo of Chomp for Android featuring CEO/co-founder Ben Keighran, formerly of Aardvark and BluePluse before that.